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Blue Lake Rancheria donates to the community

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BLUE LAKE, Calif. - Thanks to the generosity of local tribe Blue Lake Rancheria, thousands of families were able to celebrate and give gifts this holiday season.

According to the Blue Lake Rancheria, the Blue Lake Casino & Hotel’s 9th Annual Holiday Gift Drive, in partnership with Toys for Tots,  raised over $50,000 this year. The drive began Nov. 1 and was held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Dec. 22.

Officials with the casino said over 5,000 guests donated $10 and received $20 in Blue Bucks (free slot play) in return. Together the community has raised over $1,000,000 in the nine years the Holiday Gift Drive has been running. 

This year, Toys for Tots has been able to provide gifts for 8,000 families in Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties, including families affected by the recent fires. 

Additionally, Blue Lake Rancheria and Blue Lake Casino & Hotel surprised Blue Lake School with a $73,500 donation at an awards assembly on Dec. 22. The funds will ensure the school can continue after-school programs like art classes, field trips, the GATE program, music program and new playground equipment.

Coupled with the $180,000 donation in January 2017, the tribe has altogether donated over $250,000 to the school this year.

The tribe said it supports education in many ways, including the eighth grade scholarship program: Each student who graduates the eighth grade from Blue Lake School receives a $500 certificate that they can redeem upon graduating high school.

Over the years, the tribe has also helped with funding and program design for the California State University system and Humboldt State University, in order to increase Native American enrollment in higher education across the state. The tribe said it also underwrites multiple honorary scholarships named after local Blue Lake School educators and partners with a number of local government and non-government organizations that are dedicated to fostering excellence in education. 

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